Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spender to miss Kempton and head straight to Cheltenham

Colin Tizzard has revealed the latest plans for his talented handicapper Hey Big Spender who bounced right back to his best with an impressive win under a big weight at Warwick recently, writes Elliot Slater.

Tizzard has his strongest ever team heading to the Cheltenham Festival next month, headed by Supreme Novices' Hurdle favourite Cue Card, smart novice chaser Hell's Bay, Triumph Hurdle candidate Third Intention, and Hey Big Spender, who after his recent success will go directly to Cheltenham and miss the Racing Post Chase, a race for which he had been quoted at around 16/1 in most ante-post lists.

Carrying 11st 12lbs in the class 2 handicap chase over two-miles and five furlongs at Warwick, Tizzard's eight-year-old led at the 13th and always had the race under control from then on. He ran out a four-length winner from Fine Parchment, confirming himself back to the kind of form that saw him beat John Smith's Grand National candidate Big Fella Thanks in good style in a Carlisle graduation chase earlier in the season and looks a decent prospect in the Cheltenham odds.

Fancied by many good judges to run a big race in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on his subsequent outing, the Rudimentary gelding led for much of the trip but had faded out of contention when taking a tired fall at the final fence. A lack lustre run at Cheltenham on New Year's Day did little to inspire confidence for the rest of the term, but clearly Tizzard has his charge back to close to his best now and has the option of bidding for either the Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase, or the Ryanair Chase, a race for which he is priced up at around 33/1 with most firms.

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